Maine Maple Producers Able to Tap Trees With Early Spring - NECN

Maine Maple Producers Able to Tap Trees With Early Spring



    Maine maple producers able to tap trees with early spring

    Maine is the 3rd highest maple syrup producing state, and some producers are worried the season will end too soon (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    (NECN: Marnie MacLean) - This is the busy season for Lyle Merrifield. His days are spent in the woods, tapping trees to make maple syrup.

    In all, he'll tap about 600 trees with the hopes he can make about 200 gallons of syrup at his farm in Gorham, Maine.

    "It's weeping good today," said Merrifield. "I'll let that drip a little bit."

    It will take about 35 gallons of sap for one gallon of maple syrup.

    The sap flows best when nights are cold and days are warm and sunny. The mild winter meant an early start for many maple producers - but the record warmth could also mean an early end to the season.

    Maine is the third highest maple syrup producing state - behind Vermont and New York. It's a $10.5 million industry here, and Lyle, who is also the head of Maine's Maple Syrup Producers Association, says more people are entering the business.

    Merrifield also said that the demand for syrup is growing, adding, "It's growing in leaps and bounds, (there is a) global market for it now."

    It's more than just syrup: Value added maple products are gaining in popularity - and account for some of the industry's growth. Things like maple butter, maple candy and maple cream.

    In 2011, Maine produced 360 thousand gallons of syrup - a banner year. It may be hard to reach that mark this year, but maple producers are hopeful that Mother Nature still has a little winter and lot more sap to give.